Brynn is the owner of Red House Farm, a homestead in the middle of town that offers vegetables, bread, and beef to the folks of Boulder. She’s the anchor vendor at the community market, and also has a self-serve farm stand on site. She tends about 20 acres of her own and her neighbor’s land on which she irrigates and hays, pastures or grows her vegetable crops. Although she sells her surplus food she believes everyone should grow a garden, big or small. “Tending your garden is healthy for body, spirit and mind. It keeps us connected to the earth, the seasons, the rhythm of life and keeps our food-growing skills tuned.” Brynn has helped organize many garden tours of the years, and often hosts other BSF activities including seed swaps, animal processing workshops, and the annual Boulder Harvest Festival. Other community activities also take place at the farm such as local theatre and music events, movies and a tool-share library. Brynn often hosts woofers who help with the farm and learn homesteading skills. Her favorite farm activity is milking her Jersey cow Delilah.
I like learning a bit of everything as that to me is what self-reliance and resiliency require. A strong broad foundation. Though I’ve learned to grow food from Constance, build strawbale houses from the Steen’s, and learned Permaculture through the Sonoran Permaculture Guild, most lessons have come from diving into the lifestyle itself. Hard-won experience and living close to nature have been essential teachers. I grew up in California, spent 14 years in Missoula, Montana applying geology and mapping degrees as a Land Surveyor. It wasn’t until the Desert Southwest that I decided to veer away from a more traditional career. Now as NightRaven Gardens, Constance Lynn and I have created a life that truly sustains us. We grow 60% of our food, and I’m in the midst of building a strawbale house we designed. We are building as close to green as Utah code will allow. Earth plasters, poured adobe floors, and a good amount of recycled wood. This has all taught me an innate capacity to do what you can’t imagine you could do. Along with all these pragmatic skills and physical projects, I believe personal sustainability is crucial. What is that? The inner work that builds integrity, good relations, awareness, and common sense. All this applied to not only ourselves but a community will give us an adaptable and thriving future.
After shedding their “professional” careers, Eric Feiler and his wife Mary found themselves in Boulder with a travel trailer, two dogs, and a 4-month old son. After 17 years of trial and error, they now run a small farm growing produce, chickens, and gourmet mushrooms. In their journey from academic professionals to producers, they both have realized their dream of self-reliance (well almost), simplicity in life, and a beautiful home and family (they added a son to the mix two years after landing in Boulder).
Eric has spearheaded the Boulder Skills Foundation’s radio repeater project for Boulder Town and surrounding environs and has given several workshops at the Skills Foundation’s “Harvest Festival” including growing mushrooms using log inoculation and threshing and winnowing techniques for the backyard gardener. Eric is now focusing his time on biological agriculture, the role soil micro-organisms in agricultural production, and the uses of properly manufactured compost in building and supporting below-ground nutrient cycling. Eric is currently enrolled in the certified Soil Life Consultant program run by Dr. Elaine Ingham and her Environment Celebration Institute.
Pam’s interest in self-sufficiency was cultivated at a young age by her family’s vegetable garden in Pennsylvania, where she became the chief weeder. After majoring in graphic design at Tyler School of Art and working at an in-house creative firm in Philadelphia for 8 years, Pam and her husband relocated to Utah in order to immerse themselves in the exploration of new skills. Pam serves as Secretary for both the Boulder Community Alliance and Boulder Town Tree City Committee. She and Constance Lynn co-founded the Boulder Seed Collective, which seeks to preserve and distribute heirloom seed varieties. Pam also works as a master gardener, certified permaculture designer, outdoor survival instructor, and weaver.
Constance Lynn has been devoted to local food resiliency since 1988 when she began working at a natural foods coop in Buffalo, NY. Her experience spans decades of working in food coops as well as organic farms in WA, NY, NM, AZ, New Zealand and now Boulder, Utah. While living in Brooklyn, NY she was active in the local food security movement, committed to community gardens, community-supported agriculture, volunteering with Just Food and working at the Flatbush Food Coop, and later the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in their seed-saving program. Constance has been involved with seed-saving since then including work at Native Seed SEARCH in Arizona and Koanga Gardens in New Zealand. She and Pam co-founded the Boulder Seed Collective and both are also involved with Boulder Tree City where the group is growing a Permaculture food forest in the Town Park. In Boulder, Constance also offers yoga as a practice of direct experience with reality, creates herbal remedies in relationship with plants in her community, and is co-creating a sanctuary with Matt Cochran. Her offerings can be found at: Here
Dan Pence & Jennifer Geerlings
Dan and Jennifer were captured by the Boulder Skills Foundation (BSF) when they attended their first Harvest Festival because of the incredible service it provided the community, its ability to attract people from all segments of Boulder, and its organic embodiment of BSF’s core values of self-reliance, resiliency, and skill-building. Dan and Jennifer knew immediately it was an organization with a vision they believed in, was guided by passionate people, and jumped in to give their time. They built a straw bale house outside of Boulder many years ago when the only “manual” was a stapled booklet handwritten by Judy Knox and Matts Myrham, have a modest garden, a few fruit trees that sometimes produce, seasonal ducks, dogs and cats, and a love for canyon country.
Tessa’s interest in self-sufficiency began with the innate fulfillment she felt when she began consuming locally grown foods, alongside a lifelong love for time in the wilderness. This has blossomed into a commitment to growing, gathering, and preserving food and herbal medicines, as well as an excitement for other skills such as woodworking and basketry. She has worked on small-scale farms in New Zealand and throughout the US, as well as urban farm projects in New Orleans. She joined the Boulder Skills Foundation in order to foster the sense of community that naturally arises around resiliency practices; she believes that when people want to learn, utilize, and share skills, gathering is inevitable, ties are formed, and knowledge is passed. Through the BSF, she has had the opportunity to teach workshops including Using the Sun to Preserve the Harvest, From Garden to Backpack, and Herbal Meadmaking.
Elena manages the garden at the Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch, growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers for their onsite restaurant, Sweetwater Kitchen. Learning to raise and process food animals, she is working towards a goal of starting a pasture-based meat cooperative in Boulder. For the 2020 season, Elena has been providing free garden consultations in town to folks who’d like to start growing food or scale up their production, but could use a bit of guidance to take the leap. With interests in different pockets of agriculture, food production/collection, and sustainable living practices, Elena will keep learning from her pals in the Boulder Skills Foundation and hopes to have her own homestead someday, where she can grow honest food for herself and her community.